Hugh McWilliams was born in Glenavy, County Antrim. From 1800 to 1816 he was a schoolteacher in North Down. He was schoolteacher in the parish of Loughgiel, County Antrim from 1819 to 1831. He wrote songs in Irish and in Scottish dialect. He published two books, both called Poems and Songs on Various Subjects, one in 1816 and the other in 1831. A selection of his songs is published by John Moulden in his Ulstersongs series.